Aman Sandhu

Things to consider before re-entering the choir:

One: The emergence of the protagonist. A poet, stepped out of the choir and started truth whilst, the choir continued to sing the accepted truths. real saying the

Two: The subaltern can’t speak because there isn’t a platform for them to be heard. If they step onto that platform, they will be adopting their oppressors voice.

Three: The Euro Cup Final between Portugal and France. Early on in the first half a French player injures the star Portuguese player, Ronaldo. Of course this is devastating for Portugal and the French player instantly becomes a villain. At the end of the first half, there is a camera focused on the French player who injured Ronaldo; the camera is pulling back as the player is walking off the pitch talking to one of his teammates. They’re talking to each other but they’re covering their mouths with their hands.

Four: Oral hygiene for the safe passage of voice. In the spirit and wellness aisle, you’ll find a glass bottle with the contents written in Helvetica font on a white sticker – . It will say that this is a mouthwash but it’s actually the coconut oil and charcoal Aruyvedic practice of oil pulling where you take a mouth full of coconut oil, gargle it for 20 minutes and then you spit it out. The idea is that in the gargling of the coconut oil, it pulls up toxins from inside of you, and in the spitting, you spit out those toxins. The charcoal whitens your teeth. Also in this aisle, you’ll find miswak sticks, toothbrush. The use of miswak is part of an Islamic practice meant to be traditional a used before prayer. Chew off the bark at the tip of the stick until the wood bristles; use the bristles to clean your teeth. Both of these practices of cleansing your mouth – the point of articulation for language – will require momentary muteness.

Five: The filibuster – an uninterrupted speech, often requiring some degree of improvisation, has the potential to block power.

Now go back into the choir.

Statement

At the beginning of the MFA, we were encouraged to dismantle our practice, I understood this as an opportunity to pack away my concerns and perhaps I could unpack at a later date. In this clearing, what I found most surprising was that I was left with a formal language of making that I didn’t realise I had – a language of sculpture that I was having a contentious relationship with, leaving me to wonder, whose language is this? I was also tracking my presence in Glasgow with a series of anecdotal stories often spoken aloud to an audience –these stories were feeding the fabrication of work, as a consequence sculptures were being rendered as props – unable to communicate as effectively as my own voice. During the MFA, I repositioned the relationship between my voice and my sculptures from attempting to have them represent a unified subjectivity (where my voice = my interest and sculpture = my desire) to a dislocated subjectivity (where the voice and sculptures could act in opposition but still represent my subjectivity). This acknowledgement opened up the physical work from merely being props for a story to being witnesses to my surroundings. This reconciliation was accelerated during the interim of the MFA because of the seismic paradigm shifts that occurred in the political landscape (Brexit, Trump). In a climate of post-truth and alternative facts, it was more prescient than ever to address the voice – it seems that with the multitude of platforms available to speak, nobody is even listening.

Through research into the emergence of the protagonist in ancient Greek theatre (a single poet walks out of the choir and speaks the real truth whilst, the choir sings the accepted truth), a re-reading of Gayatri Spivak’s, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak’, witnessing football players covering their mouths with their hand whilst speaking to evade lip-reading, and an encounter with ancient Aruyvedic and Islamic oral hygiene practices – that I started to consider gestures of self-muting as strategies for framing and syphoning content to targeted audiences. The installation, ‘Things to Consider Berfor Re-entering the Choir’ is a tableau, a tool kit, a ritual kit for preparing the voice for re-entry into the choir whilst still being able to speak truth undetected.

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